“As a mom, all I want is for my child to participate and be accepted.”
It’s what we all want, really. A more inclusive and accepting community. An equal playing field.
So this spring, we are going for gold!
In March, April and May across Virginia, thousands of school-age athletes will participate in the ABLEnow Feet Meet Series, which includes Little Feet Meets, Meet in the Middle events and Big Feet Meets. These Unified Sports® events are a way for schools to engage students with and without intellectual disabilities during a training season and culminating “Feet Meet.”
For students with disabilities, the Feet Meet events serve as a public celebration of meeting key developmental and social milestones. Students without disabilities can practice and compete with their team, as well as act as Feet Meet facilitators and fans. Together, we’ve created a new space for students to form friendships based on shared values instead of differences. We’re changing the game.
“We were excited to start our unified program, but did not expect the impact it would have on our school,” said Eurith Bowen, a Special Education teacher at Kenmore Middle School in Arlington. “Now our kids are the cool kids and everyone wants to be their teammate.”
The Feet Meets are one of the highlights of the school year for many students with and without disabilities.
"I remember never feeling as whole as I did then, and I really found the best version of myself through engaging with the athletes and seeing their joy," says Alex Ritchie, former Feet Meet facilitator and fan.
About ABLEnow: The Feet Meet Series is sponsored by ABLEnow, a new way to save, invest and pay for qualified disability-related expenses. ABLEnow is the national ABLE savings program offered by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Now, eligible individuals can save up to $15,000 a year without endangering eligibility for certain benefit programs critical to their health and well-being. These tax-advantaged accounts help level the playing field so individuals with disabilities can save for independence, greater financial security and a better quality of life. Learn more and start your savings at able-now.com.
To find an ABLEnow Feet Meet Series event near you, check out the schedule below.
|Date||Feet Meet Event||Location||Time|
|3/27/18||Virginia Beach Little Feet Meet||Tallwood High School||9am- 1pm|
|3/28/18||Suffolk Little Feet Meet||Kings Fork High School||9am - 1pm|
|4/11/18||King George Big Feet Meet||King George High School||9am - 1pm|
|4/11/18||Lexington-Rockbridge Big Feet Meet||Rockbridge County High School||9am - 1pm|
|4/12/18||Charlottesville-Albemarle Little Feet Meet||Albemarle High School||9am - 1pm|
|4/12/18||Norfolk Little Feet Meet||Old Dominion University||9am - 1pm|
|4/12/18||Henrico Big Feet Meet||Highland Springs High School||9am - 1pm|
|4/13/18||Prince George Little Feet Meet||Prince George High School||9am - 1pm|
|4/16/18||Caroline Big Feet Meet||Caroline High School||9am - 1pm|
|4/16/18||Hanover Big Feet Meet||Atlee High School||9am - 1pm|
|4/17/18||Chesterfield Little Feet Meet||James River High School||9am - 1pm|
|4/18/18||Lancaster, Northumberland, Richmond County Feet Meet||Rappahannock High School||9am - 1pm|
|4/19/18||Campbell Little Feet Meet||Rustburg High School||9am - 1pm|
|4/20/18||Fredericksburg Big Feet Meet||James Madison High School||9am - 1pm|
|4/23/18||Richmond Big Feet Meet||Sports Backers Stadium||9am - 1pm|
|4/24/18||Petersburg Big Feet Meet||Petersburg High School||9am - 1pm|
|4/25/18||Manassas Big Feet Meet||Manassas Park High School||9am - 1pm|
|4/25/18||Roanoke Little Feet Meet||Northside High School||9am - 1pm|
|4/25/18||Colonial Heights Little Feet Meet||Colonial Heights High School||9am - 1pm|
|4/27/18||Richmond Little Feet Meet||Huguenot High School||9am - 1pm|
|4/30/18||Essex Big Feet Meet||Essex High School||9am - 1pm|
|5/1/18||Henrico Little Feet Meet||JR Tucker High School||9am - 1pm|
|5/2/18||Henrico Meet in the Middle||Collegiate School||9am - 1pm|
|5/5/18||Loudoun Little Feet Meet||Freedom High School||9am - 1pm|
|5/16/18||Bedford Big Feet Meet||Liberty High School||9am - 1pm|
|5/24/18||Prince William Little Feet Meet||Saunders Middle School||9am - 1pm|
|5/30/18||Falls Church Little Feet Meet||Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School||9am - 1pm|